KRISTI MARTEL: The MuleI hand the album to someone and they say,
"Is that really a mule? It's so....big! I thought mules were smaller..."
And I say,
"Yes, that IS a mule. Her name is Dolly. She IS big... and beautiful! Donkeys are smaller, but mules have horse in them so..."
And they say,
"Why is the album called 'The Mule?'"
And I say,
"well....the mule is a carrying animal..."
Here, let me just give you some of the liner notes and then some...
The mule is a carrying animal, like me. Mules carry goods; I carry stories. I hold the unseen, give voice to the silences, carry and identify trouble, and try to heal my loved ones with a tenacity I have seen in no one else. It's high time I let the stories and their people go, let their weight off my shoulders, stand taller and lighter. At some point I thought of putting a bunch of songs together under the title "The Mule" because I liked the metaphor I created in my song, "The Mule," and noticed I had also created a carrying trilogy. Then I talked to people (especially my partner, Littlebird, who helped me create the track listing and started creating a mule cartoon for me, for the album...) about the idea and got enough feedback to create this here "theme" album. It's been a long, long time coming. I wrote most of these songs before I recorded my previous album, "brave enough," but chose not to put these songs on that album because these songs are heavier and required a more weighty recording process. The songwriting spans ten years - ten years of stories I've carried. The songs tend to explore the bounds of relationships and identities - interior, romantic, social, public. Relatives, friends, lovers, street harassers - leave their imprints on me and show up in my texts. I am just trying to get the word out. I am just trying to get free by telling. I hope you can feel all the beauty, emotion, love, care, power, fight, struggle, commonality, and truth. I hope that we can each be brave enough to break our silences and let our stories take flight, so that we may live fully and well on the ground. Let me set them free. Blessed be.
"...love emanates from every note." - Vienna Teng
"Incomparable!" - Utah Phillips
"Damn!" - Cesca Waterfield
Award-winning songwriter Kristi Martel grew up in New England and left in 1990 to earn an ASCAP grant and two music degrees (Bard and Mills College) in NY and CA before returning home to RI in 2003. The visionary soulsinger choreographed performance art and composed vocal music to tell stories about relationships, cultural identity, body image, and body memory before beginning her touring and recording career in 2000.
In August 2003 Kristi's life partner and music collaborator, Littlebird, died by suicide, and Kristi has been writing her fifth CD since. Her new (fourth) CD, The Mule, on indie label Sealed Lip Records, is a project long in the making that seems to integrate her through-composed, performance art, and soulsinger selves into one work.
Quaint & Curious Ravendemos (LP 2005)
The Mule (LP 2004)
bound (single 2003)
brave enough (LP 2001)
give me a little... (EP 2000)
Check out the artist's website:
3. My Torn in Two
5. Carrying Stories
6. My Name
7. Carry It On
8. The Maiden and Her Master
10. The Mule
11. Carry Me
12. When Outside Gets Inside Through the Skin
13. Road Song